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Google admits Scandinavian data center landing

Budgets (only) $250m for newspaper destruction metaphor

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Google has confirmed it will build a data center on the defunct Finnish paper mill it purchased last month for roughly $50 million.

In mid-February, global paper-maker Stora Enso announced that Google would shell out €40 million ($50 million) for its Summa Mill in Kymenlaakso, Finland. And Google told The Reg it was "considering" building a data center on the site.

Now, the ad giant has admitted its mind is made up. Google says the mill purchase includes approximately 166 hectares (410 acres) of land, and it will spend roughly €200 million ($251 million), including the mill purchase, erecting one of its top-secret data centers.

It's an apt metaphor for the gradual destruction of the world's newspapers. Stora Enso shut down its Summa Mill early last year, citing a decrease in newsprint and magazine-paper production that lead to "persistent losses in recent years and poor long-term profitability prospects." Nowadays, the world gets its news through things like, well, Google's data centers.

As our friends at Data Center Knowledge point out, that $250 million figure is a significant drop-off from the $600 million it recently budgeted for each of its Project Will Power expansions in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Iowa.

In the fourth quarter of last year, Google significantly chopped its data center spending, as it (temporarily) halted construction in Pryor, Oklahoma and slowed work in Lenoir, North Carolina. Naturally, it cited "volatile economic conditions." The ad broker's infrastructure spending was $368 million in Q4 versus $842 million in Q1 2008.

At two separate tech conferences this week, Google boss Eric Schmidt stressed that the company was letting its cash "pile up" as the rest of the economy melts around it.

Nonetheless, Google is moving ahead in Finland. The company expects its latest data center will be open for business in 2010, after roughly 200 person-years of construction work. It will employee roughly 50 workers full-time. ®

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